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Serving Over 20,000 US Medical Transcriptionists


Posted By: WA on 2005-07-30
In Reply to: QA comment - MT

Thanks so much for posting. Believe it or not, your post made me feel good. I am new, and am lucky enough to have mostly good dictators and only a few really bad ones. (But the account with the SKIPPING-TAPE-THING GOING ON IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!) Anyway, I know QA can understand about the skipping tape thing. I proofread every single report (so you know I am not making much money), but I rarely hear from QA, so I must be doing something right. It is just nice to finally hear from someone from QA on this board and to know they appreciate a job well done. I have e-mailed QA back, thanking them for the help, but lately have not, thinking that I might be annoying them - taking time away from their work, but now I know that e-mail might be appreciated instead. Now...we will probably get some slams from people having a bad day, but I thank you for writing. You should post more often, and we all would LOVE to hear some of the funnier "bloopers"

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Excellent post! I copied this post and...
am going to show it to my shrink so he can understand my frustration with my new "profession!" By the way, how much you wanna bet he pulls in 300$ an hour and has two years of schooling on me! Hmmmmmmm. Okay, you flamers, don't tell me to go back to school...I am thinking about it. Hmmmm
Thanks for the excellent post!
Excellent post! Well said!
My kids belonged to a bowling league..my oldest boys being in public school. The youth director confided in me that their 'homeschool league' kids were SO much more respectful and better behaved and an absolute pleasure to work with than the 'regular leagues.'

You are correct. Homeschool does not mean isolation whatsoever, unless, of course, you are way out in the sticks without a car, etc!

I homeschooled my daugter for 5 of her school years. If there was a sociability contest, she would WIN hands down! Everyone says so!! Her very best feature!
Excellent post!
I totally agree with you. This is the most intelligent post I have see in a long time. I have always felt that it was the large services and MTSOs who stir the pot to keep MTs at each other's throats. It's a lot easier to manipulate us one on one. If we were united and had someone to "get our backs" they wouldn't be able to get away with the cheap slave labor they are trying to pass off these days. I would really, really like to see some real union amongst MTs. The only way we can fight what is happening to our industry is to fight it together as a group! AAMT has been a HUGE disappointment to us. We need something better. I think one of the main reasons we see so much bickering and back stabbing on here is that there is no job satisfaction anymore. There is nothing to feel proud of. We get beat down on all sides. It would be great to be able to look forward to going to work every day again. I know we need a union, but have no idea how to go about starting one. Where is Norma Rae when you need her?
EXCELLENT post! Here's something else....(sm)
A very similar job to MT, with only a slightly different twist to it, is COURT-REPORTING. Back in 1975, I (stupidly!) decided at the same time my friend was going to school for court-reporting, to instead to go school for medical transcription. At the time, both paid about the same, court-reporting being slightly higher. But that made sense, as she had to stay in school longer.

So here we are, 30 years later, and MT has become a crummy sweatshop job with what adds up to less than minimum wage in many instances. I live hand-to-mouth, and will never be able to own a home, or most likely even to retire. My friend, on the other hand, is paid a top salary, owns a home on the California coast, works when & if she wants to, and has tons of work. You never hear about court reporting going offshore, because it's a legal docoment that is being typed, and I guess a recording of the court proceedings won't cut it - it has to be transcribed live for it to be considered evidence. Same with taking depositions.

MTs are every bit as literate, highly trained and professional as court reporters, and we, too type medicolegal documents. At any time, any report we type could end up as evidence if that particular patient or doctor were to end up in court.

So it sure seems to me that if transcribed medical reports are going to be used within the American judicial system for any reason, then they should certainly be considered important enough to be typed by American CITIZENS who live within our own borders. NOT by people with green cards, NOT by illega aliens, and most certainly NOT by non-residents.

If our profession is compared side-by-side with court-reporting, it may be a bit like comparing apples & oranges in some respects, but in other respects they are still very similar, and are both FRUITS of the American labor force. Yet one is a high-paying, respectable career and the other is considered by many to not even be a "real job!

That has come about because of corporate greed, and by people in other countries looking to make quick, easy money.

Of course, the reason this has happened to MT and not court-reporting is mainly due to one thing: Our ability to work on PCs at home. If court reporters could sit at home and listen to court proceedings on a recording or over a live connection, they would have found themselves facing the same loss of respect and income that we have had to deal with.
excellent post. nm
That is an excellent post.
Excellent post!
Good insight into the complexity of trade, competition, and lower salary workers.
What an excellent post!
Thank you, thank you! I am a bit depressed reading the post above yours. This is exactly the kind of attitude that enables these companies to lower their rates.

I think you spoke for a lot of us.
Excellent post.

Excellent post.
A most excellent post

I think sometimes, in our zeal to get hired, we throw everything into the pot.  We declare that we possess every skill that might help us to make the cut over other applicants.   We're a nurse, we transcribe, we can make coffee, can get grease spots out of a Brooks Brothers suit, drop his kids at day care on the way to work - no!  it's no trouble at all, really! - whatever.  In this case, having your office nurse also be your Transcriptionist probably seemed an attractive prospect, until the doctor's wife figured they were paying twice for what she thought they should be paying for only once. Now these very skills have been turned against the worker.  So your points 1, 2 and 3 are particularly valid. 

I have seen ads for MTs in local papers and the description of duties sometimes says, 'medical transcription, reception duties, appointments, filing, other duties as needed.'  Then I know I don't even want to apply for the position, as I have no idea how I could be MT as well as receptionist.  How frustrating it would be to have my concentration constantly interrupted!  This practice wants a secretary/receptionist they can make transcribe as well.  Lots of luck getting someone who can do both well. 

Any professional should balk at being told that a salary covers 'anything the boss expects' them to do.  Especially if this throws out an established arrangement and doubles someone's work load.  While we all like to be team players, if only the  owner gets a tropy this diminishes our team spirit considerably.

I'm of two minds on this.  I would either agree and simply not bust my butt getting the transcription done until it was piled so high SOMETHING had to change.  Certainly there is a limit to how backed up this practice will allow its reports to become?  Meanwhile I'd be looking for new employment.  Of course, as the reports piled up, you have to know the office manager would be timing your trips to the bathroom with a stop watch and accusing you of wasting time on her dime (as seems to be her nature) but I'm sure you could perform all your usual nursing duties with just a bit less alacrity in order not to appear idle.  Or I would simply call their bluff and refuse to go along (which might be shooting myself in the foot unless I had another job to go to. )

Excellent post and viewpoint
What an excellent post you wrote! (sm)
Everything is a hit-the-nail-on-the-head ACCURATE description of the mess the MT industry has become today. If the doctors & hospitals truly don't care about such gross mistakes in their dictated LEGAL documents, I wonder why they even bother at all.

I also wonder how long MTSO's really think they are going to get the most experienced MTs out there by continuing to chip away at their pay and benefits. I'm expected to turn out perfect medical reports, which means, even with 30+ years of experience, that when doing difficult accounts, I can't blast away at Mach II on my reports - I have to spend a little more time looking up state-of-the-art treatments, drugs, etc., and then extra time proofreading each report afterward (which is difficult when you're proofing your own work). And yet in order to earn what would normally constitute 8 hrs. worth of pay, I often end up working 12-hour days. And yet my rent (which is way below-market, I might add) still consumes more than half of my income each month. (I went to school for WHAT??)

WOW!! Excellent eloquent post!
You covered everything and did it so well that there's not much to add.
I will say, though, that I have been in a profession in which I was in a union. I have plenty of gripes about the union, but it'd be nice to have that protection here. It'll never happen, though, because of the other shortcoming that plagues this industry: Offshoring. It used to be that, if you worked hard and were good at your job, you had some leeway because you just *knew* that your company wouldn't let you go because they valued you so much. Not so these days, at least not the company I work for, and not from many others if what I read on these boards is true. Most of the companies have a virtually endless supply of maleable workers who will work for little to nothing. I get the very distinct feeling that if I said I was quitting tomorrow, they'd almost be happy for it. After all, they can now just backfill my position with one of those nameless, faceless people in India, the Philippines, Viet Nam, or any of the various other 'offshore' places.
A friend who works for SPi and is very good at what she does, when she told her supervisor that she had gotten another job offer, was actually told by that supervisor her advice was to take it! Back in 'the day' and not too very long ago, the response would've been 'how can we keep you?' Every single QA or Editor that I know is actively searching for a new job, some in this same declining industry, others in completely other fields.
After working so hard for so many years, I now feel just extremely tired - body and soul, completely demoralized, struggling to have any pride in my work any more. It's bad now and getting worse. I only hope the above poster is correct and things will make a turn-around, but frankly, I'm having a really hard time seeing it or even mustering the optimism to envision it. :'(
Excellent informative post!
You have given us all something to think about because you are right. We are not the only field this is happening to.
Lydia - I think your post was excellent however

I would like to bring up the new technology of VR where the use of word Expanders no longer has the impact that they have with straight typing. 

I am doing editing and when I talk to others they were doing 300-400 lines with straight typing and word expanders.  Now they are editing that same work and perhaps doing an average of  400 lph and yet making half as much money.   It is an entirely different skill set learning to navigate quickly and get the work edited for speed, something which I am struggling with.  I would love it if editors would share their speed tips but usually all the posts I get go something like this:  I do 500 lines and hour and make more money editing OR I had to take a pay cut editing but no specifics as to why or how to build speed.  So that is not really helpful as to why there is more or less $ with editing.  I use my keyboar and not my mouse.  I am working as hard as I can but I only can do maybe 100 more lines tops with editing than I can with straight typing but my pay has dropped by 50%.  I don't see editing going away so to that end it seems as if the pay is dropping in transcription.  Does anyone else see where I am coming from????

Thank you for an excellent post. I wish we had our own board. nm
Excellent post and info...a must read.nm
Here's an excellent link to a post for suggestions
Here's a link to an excellent post at Productivity Talk by Tonks. I'm trying this out right now. If it works, I'm going to send her a big thank you.

Excellent post. I totally agree.
Excellent post! There are still people with passion out there - that is great to know...
Sometimes everyone sounds so harsh and cold about all of this.

Best wishes to you, and good for you for finding another way of making a living.

Hopefully, those of us over 45 will have luck finding jobs...

I should research what happened years ago when the steel mills shut down, or when automation took over. People must have had some kind of help when they got their pink splips...
Post not EXCELLENT, but completely out of touch with reality

like you think the MT's control the pay in the MT world? Either you need the job and you take it for the pay or you have another option. MT's without another option will take the job at 6 cpl, or 4 cpl or whatever. When working at McDonald's becomes an option that is equivalent to MT work, then MT's will choose McDonald's. 

The Transcriptionist is just ONE cog in the wheel of the whole industry. If people continue to look at only the MT's part, they miss the big picture. If all it took were people saying Let's all stand up together and demand better wages, then why couldn't the cashiers at the grocery stores across the US do the same thing? They can't. Because it they don't cashier for $8 an hour, there's somebody else who will. Same thing has happened with transcription. If you don't take the job at 6 cpl, somebody else will. It might be somebody from India (which you so quickly discounted) but I'll let you in on a little secret. The people from India who are doing MT typically have 2 master's degrees. They are hungry for work. They are intelligent, competent individuals, willing to work hard. They might have a little bit of a quality issue right now because of the language barrier, but it won't be long before you have lots and lots of Indian MT's with 2 years experience, who have learned from their mistakes, who have learned American idioms... and then you are really going to see the bottom drop of out the market.

Should just post all their open positions in one post and only be allowed to post one of those a day
Excellent. Old dog here too. SM.
I agree.  I know these young moms mean well, trying to stay at home and learn this and there is no freaking way.  I think it would be hard for even one with adequate experience to do it with a newborn at home.
I hope to reach this point some day. How many hours per day do you work?


and I don't think the top was *disrespectful* as the other poster said - it is a well-known fact that our current prez cannot form, for the most part, a proper sentence....

and to the ones who don't believe the sentence problems - suggest y'all start watching the news and/or David Letterman's first 10 minutes nightly.....or go to youtube or any other the other free video sites and/or Google some *bushisms* as they have *fondly* became to be known as.....after 6-1/2 yrs in office.  LOL

I went to M-TEC. It is an excellent course (sm)

I have never heard of the other school, so I can't compare the two, but I have nothing but good things to say about M-TEC.  Once you graduate they have pages upon pages of companies that will hire you if you graduate with a good GPA, and that is key, as it is very hard to get a job as a newbie in this field, as many companies require 2 or more years of experience. M-TEC has a great reputation for turning out skilled graduates that many companies will waive their experience requirements.

It's definitely not an easy course, but it prepares you very well for the extremely challenging career of medical transcription.  I have heard that Andrews School is good too but maybe a bit more expensive.

I would recommend checking out the schools' websites if you haven't already to get more info.  M-Tec has a great message board that should answer many of your questions.  Let me know if you have any more questions and good luck in your choice!

p.s. I saw your other post asking if you think it's worth it to get into this field, and only you can answer that, but for me it was.  I paid a relatively small amount of money to go to school, I don't have to pay for gas to and from work, "fancy" work clothes, daycare for my children, and I work the hours I choose in my own home as an independent contractor and therefore have lots of freedom in my day to day life, which has always been a dream of mine.

On the other hand, I am pretty new to the field and find the job really challenging sometimes, and it is extremely difficult for me to get my work done with my 2 kids around, but each month it gets a little easier, and as it gets easier I am slowly making more money too.  

Excellent!! Thank you very much! nm
both are excellent, but........
I did M-Tec and think Andrews is just as good as far as the grads going to work. It's been 7-8 years but at that time, you had three choices on the length of your program.
I have Raynaud's, so this would be perfect for me. Arthritis sufferers would also benefit. The ad suggests it might also be beneficial to those with carpal tunnel. I have a theory that one reason so many guys can type so fast is that they have better blood flow to their hands. In my current job I work outside. I don't spend much time on the computer, but if I was one whose computer was outside, I'd definitely get this product. Those of you with hot hands can't possibly understand, but there is no need to ridicule it at all. I have known about the heated keyboard for a while, but I think Transcription Gear just added it to their offerings. Good for them, I say.

I have sent similar letters and encourage every U.S. MT to contact their elected representatives, demanding they support this bill and do all they can to protect the American worker.

Great letter -- Thanks for posting it.
that's great info!
And it exactly illustrates my problem with the pay rate for speech editing. It's knowledge-based. I apply my brain to each and every line on the screen. I should not be paid based on production.

Where did this silly pay system start? Which large company first introduced speech and the half-rate pay scale? Apparently, they set the standard.

I recently picked up a pamphlet from my old college, and I see they are offering a certificate program in therapeutic horticulture, therapy through gardening. It sounds so interesting. I'd love to do something like that, but it sounds like the sort of thing that won't have a lot of job openings in this economy.
Excellent! sm
Thanks soo much, this was great. How can I get other tests, other than April 2008 to Sept 2008?
Excellent tip!
All my years of transcribing and I never knew that!  Thanks!!!!
EXCELLENT Post!!  Have you considered writing to TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, etc.??
Excellent advice!
Excellent company
You have to be kidding.  They are the greatest company and I have worked here 3 years.  They used to have bad management but the management now is great and very supportive.  Looks like someone that is a poor loser to me
I have a friend that is an excellent MT and she -
dances one or two nights a week in the fall. It's not for me, but hey, it works for her!
This would be an excellent reason to
fill out an Employee Complaint Form on QNet.

The letter announcing the upcoming program did, in fact, state that you will be contacted personally to "...discuss the new Rewards Plan and to answer your questions."

If the person you talked to was not able to discuss and/or answer questions on the changes, but instead now we are to wait until the proposed package arrives with a phone number for us to call if we have questions ... that is certainly not what had been promised.

When I receive my phone call, if they are not able to discuss nor answer questions, I am most definitely filling out a complaint form. I will also be writing Adele Barbato myself and possibly placing a phone call to that office.

We will see what happens, I suppose.

That's right! Excellent way to state that!
Even at 8 cents a line you can make $20 an hour with just 250 lines in an hour.

excellent opinion
I feel the same way. My 5 yo comes into the shower w/me, or invites me into his bath.. I do not believe there should be shame associated w/nudity. All bodies are perfect, as designed by God. We should be comfortable in our own skin.

My brother, on the other hand, who has a 5 y/o daughter, has always worn swim trunks when he bathes with his daughter..
Excellent! - Idea
I think we should all call CitiBank and demand to be taken off their solicitation mailing list. I have never done business with them, but they send me about 100 pieces of junk mail a year! What a waste! I will NEVER do business with them.
That's an excellent idea. I need to try that.
What an excellent idea - thanks!
I'm going to look into that. Thanks to everyone for all your input - it is so helpful :)
posted by sm - an editor.

Left alone to care for "two little ones" can be an exhausting responsibility even though you love them dearly.

I encouarge you to consider a romantic weekend with just you and your husband, if you have family or a loving, trustworthy caretaker nearby to care for your "little ones" while you are away.

It is easy for one's mind to think the worst and become suspicious. Put all your trust in God.

This is excellent! Very informative!
Tons of good information on these sites!  Thanks again for your help!
This is an EXCELLENT thread--thanks! nm